Photographing the characters of London

This post was written by guest contributor, London street photographer, Nicola Albon. She takes us on a guided tour of the best places in London to take candid photos of interesting people.



My favourite places to people watch are cafes and restaurants. With so many outdoor tables all year round, you can disappear into the crowd and watch the diners and drinkers who are people watching, chatting, reading thinking or just plain bored. I’ve taken so many photos of people at cafe tables, whether outside or inside.







London’s market traders are a characterful bunch: it’s part of the job description. There isn’t a market in London where you won’t find several larger than life personalities. Anyone who’s been to Columbia Road on a Sunday will know this man.




The less well known local markets can be better than the crowded tourist-attracting markets like Portobello Road, Camden’s markets, Columbia Road or Brick Lane – not least because you’re less likely to have your arm jostled just as you go to press the shutter. It’s in these markets that you’ll find neighbours and friends catching up or stopping off for a cup of tea and get an insight into the community. But you may have to ask permission to take people’s photos in the less touristy markets because street photography isn’t always welcome in some cultures. I took this in Chrisp Street Market in Poplar.




Speakers’ Corner

From about 11 o’clock on a Sunday morning (though usually nearer to 12), you’ll find all sorts of eccentrics and oddballs at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park – both the speakers and the regular attendees who turn up to barack the speakers. It’s always entertaining.








Hyde Park

Because of the number of events held in or near Hyde Park, it’s a good place to catch those individuals who may be on their way to or from a traditional parade, a protest or a concert. This man was cycling back from the Combined Cavalry Old Comrades Association parade which takes place on the middle Sunday in May.




Big events

And if you want to photograph traditional, you have to go along to a Pearly Kings and Queens’ event. While the pearlies are always interesting, there are a raft of supporting individuals who make equally interesting subjects. Queen Victoria here, was part of the Harvest Festival Parade in the City last year.




I sometimes go along to the big events happening in London to photograph the people who go to watch. If you go to enough events, you’ll find the same characters turning up again and again. I got the shot of this man at the men’s marathon at London 2012. I’ve seen him several times since then. Well, you can’t miss that hat can you?



The big events outside central London can also be rewarding for people photography, whether it’s watching the London Marathon watchers in Rotherhithe





or Vaisakhi celebrations in East Ham.




Happy people hunting!


To read more from Nicola Albon visit the links below

Slice of London Life photo blog –

Website –

Twitter – @slicelondonlife

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Posted by:   /  24th Jun, 2014